Saturn Closest To Earth in July to View It’s Rings

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    Saturn will be at its closest to Earth on Tuesday night -opportunity to view its rings

    During July, Saturn will be well-positioned for observing all night while it moves retrograde (westward) through the stars of northeastern Sagittarius. Look for it as a medium-bright, yellowish object in the lower part of the southeastern sky, sitting east of the Milky Way.

    The ringed planet will reach opposition on July 9. On that night, Saturn will rise at sunset. Its minimum separation from Earth of 9.0 AU (839,472 miles or 1,351 million km) will cause Saturn to shine at a maximum brightness of magnitude +0.05 and exhibit an apparent disk diameter of 18.4 arc-seconds. The rings, which will narrow every year until the spring of 2025, will subtend 42.86 arc-seconds across. On July 15, the bright, nearly full moon will be positioned 2.5 degrees to the right (west) of Saturn. (Image: © Starry Night)

    July will be a great month to view the rings of Saturn. You can see them in any telescope that magnifies to at least 20 power, but the larger the aperture and the sharper the image, the more detail you can make out.

    Tonight (July 9), Saturn is at opposition, when it lies on the opposite side of the sky from the sun. This is also when the planet’s apparent size is greatest and it puts on an all-night performance with greatest gleam, shining at magnitude +0.1. Compared to the 21 brightest stars, Saturn would rank seventh, just a shade dimmer than similarly hued Capella in Auriga, the charioteer, and a trifle brighter than blue-white Rigel in Orion, the hunter.

    Saturn will rise above the east-southeast horizon as the sun sets in the west-northwest. At around 1 a.m. local daylight time, the ringed planet will appear due south, about one-third of the way up from the horizon to the point directly overhead. And by the break of dawn, Saturn will be dropping down toward setting, low in the west-southwest.

    How to make a definitive ID

    Here are two ways to make a positive identification of Saturn:

    First find Jupiter. You can’t miss it, shining like a brilliant silver “star” in the southern sky. Then, make a clenched fist and hold it out at arm’s length. Now, measure off three fists to Jupiter’s left, and the brightest starlike object that you find will be Saturn.

    Or wait until Monday evening (July 15). Then, Saturn will appear to closely accompany the nearly full moon across the sky all through the night.


    Very cool – thank you for sharing – I wonder if the astrologists out there see this as event relevant for markets etc?

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